May 21, 2024

Bruins

“Hopefully I can type of get extra duty on this crew.”

Trent Frederic scored a career-high 17 objectives final season with the Bruins. AP Photograph/Winslow Townson,

There’s a cause why gamers like Trent Frederic are valued in in the present day’s NHL.

Whereas hockey now emphasizes velocity and talent, Frederic’s recreation harkens again to the snarl that was as soon as commonplace.

The pugnacious ahead has the prickly disposition (and proper hook) wanted to dole out punishment on the ice. However the 25-year-old is just not lower from the identical fabric because the fourth-line goons or pure scrappers of yesteryear.

Frederic’s development as a two-way contributor in the course of the 2022-23 season performed a key function in Boston’s depth-scoring deluge. Alongside along with his bodily play, he added a career-high 17 objectives and 31 factors.

His even-strength defensive metrics at 5v5 play ranked within the 94th percentile throughout the NHL (per JFreshHockey), with Boston outscoring opponents, 47-23, throughout Frederic’s 884:43 of 5v5 ice time.

As soon as considered as a promising fourth-line grinder looking for some semblance of an id on Boston’s depth chart, Frederic thrived in Jim Montgomery’s system final spring as a third-line stalwart.

Now, the Bruins are hoping that the St. Louis native has yet one more main leap ahead in retailer for 2023-24.

“I imply, you possibly can’t actually exchange these guys,” Frederic mentioned by way of Zoom when requested of the departures of key cogs like Patrice Bergeron. “They’re nice people and clearly they’re nice hockey gamers. However hopefully, I can type of get extra duty on this crew. And, you understand, it’s gonna be onerous to exchange them, however do the most effective that I can.”

The Bruins are in determined want of extra accountable contributors up entrance, given the vacancies sprinkled throughout Boston’s first three traces. Final yr’s third-line grouping of Charlie Coyle, Taylor Corridor, and Frederic was a luxurious on a deep roster.

However with Coyle probably slotted right into a top-six function following Bergeron’s retirement, it stays to be seen the place precisely Frederic slots in.

Though Frederic has primarily lower his tooth on the NHL stage whereas taking part in on the wing, he’s a pure heart by commerce. And with Coyle probably bumped up, Frederic could possibly be handed the keys to the 3C place.

“I assume every thing will type of play out at camp,” Frederic mentioned of his anticipated place. “I don’t thoughts taking part in heart or wing. I believe final yr, I performed just about all three — left wing, heart and proper. So I’m snug taking part in all three now. I really actually appreciated proper wing final yr. Type of my first time doing that and I actually appreciated it. So simply type of wherever I discover a match, attempt to do it finest there.”

Though Frederic’s versatility down the center is welcomed on a reshuffled Bruins lineup, maintaining him at proper wing may be one of the best ways to maximise his potential transferring ahead.

In spite of everything, the Bruins do have one other potential third-line heart in place in Morgan Geekie, who additionally could possibly be in line for a breakout season with added reps. And regardless that Frederic is a pure heart, his struggles with faceoffs (43.9% success charge) over his NHL profession do elevate some concern. 

At proper wing, Frederic appeared like a pure match. Be it profitable puck battles alongside the boards, clearing house on the netfront, or inflicting havoc on the forecheck, Frederic frequently did the little issues down low that usually paid dividends for his two different linemates in Corridor and Coyle.

It’s powerful to argue with the outcomes.

Through the 649:43 of 5v5 ice time the place Coyle and Frederic skated collectively, the Bruins outscored groups, 35-18, and held a 154-116 edge in high-danger scoring possibilities.

As for the 420:24 of 5v5 reps when Coyle skated with out Frederic?

Boston solely outscored opponents, 16-14, and noticed opponents maintain a 94-75 benefit in high-danger scoring possibilities.

If Coyle is due for a top-six function, stapling Frederic to his hip might not be an outlandish transfer, particularly if each gamers are additional lifted by the presence of an elite playmaker like Brad Marchand on their line.

The offensive firepower of a Marchand-Coyle-Frederic line could not examine to Boston’s earlier prime line of Marchand-Bergeron-DeBrusk, however the former grouping may challenge as a stout puck-possession unit able to negating opponents within the D-zone. 

The following domino impact of penciling Frederic in at 1RW may additionally yield constructive returns.

Pushing a possible 30-goal scorer in Jake DeBrusk again to his pure spot at left wing subsequent to Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak will add extra scoring punch to Boston’s prime scoring line, whereas additionally pushing James van Riemsdyk to the third line subsequent to Geekie.

In fact, such a configuration solely turns into a practical state of affairs for Montgomery and the Bruins if Frederic is as much as the duty.

Contemporary off of signing a brand new two-year contract ($2.3 million annual cap hit), Frederic might want to show that his 17-goal marketing campaign is an indication of issues to return, and never an unsustainable surge in his capturing luck (14.2% in 2022-23).

With extra minutes and tasks on the horizon, Frederic will look to carve out a job as a part of the subsequent wave of Bruins expertise within the post-Bergeron period.

“It’s gonna be onerous to exchange Bergy and the fellows which have left this summer season,” Frederic mentioned, including: “However we nonetheless have a extremely good group of fellows.”